This blog post is for you. Yes you !! I want to say a huge thank you to anyone who has read, commented or followed my blog. When I started it I thought it would be therapeutic for me to write about my journey and keep a journal of sorts. I didn’t think anyone would be interested or bothered about reading it. I think it’s amazing that despite the fact you battle your own demons you still make time to care for and support others. Xx
So as I said my migraines started aged 10 and continued to be awful but less frequent (3 a year). I learnt to manage and deal with them the best I could although so inconvenient.
Around the age of fourteen I developed new symptoms and problems with my stomach. I would have a lot of left sided abdominal pain, bloating,bad diarrhoea and nausea. It would feel like someone was twisting and stabbing my intestine and some times i could feel and see the intestine was rock hard. I would feel like i would pass out from the pain.Around half an hour after each meal I would rush to the toilet. Certain foods and large meals seemed to aggravate and I was also losing a lot of weight. It got to the point where I dropped from 8stone to 6 stone and my monthly cycle stopped.
I sought help from my g.p who ordered a whole bunch of tests. I had a ct scan and ultrasound as well as a rectal exam. Then came the worst part gastroscopy and endoscopy (basically cameras down your throat and up your bottom). I was worried about the actual procedure but little did I know it was the prep I should have been more concerned about.
I had to eat a special bland diet a few days before and then the night before three lots of laxatives I was given specially. For someone that already had problems with diarrhoea this was hell on earth. I did not sleep at all as every time I relaxed I would feel like I would defecate. My rear end has never been so sore like I had eaten 100 vindaloos. Needless to say by the next morning I was so exhausted from lack of sleep and being nil by mouth since the night before. I just wanted it over with.
I vaguely remember parts of the procedure, gagging as they passed the tube down and complaining of pain in my tummy as the tube passed through my intestine. They took biopsies from my oesophagus which left my throat and chest feeling sore. Other than that I felt ok afterwards just drained.
The verdict was irritable bowel syndrome and a hiatus hernia where the stomach pokes up through the diaphragm (this was relevant as I also had acid reflux and sternum pain). I was given some leaflets on ibs, advised to eat high fibre and referred to a dietician for help with gaining weight. I was put on omeprazole to help with stomach acid (this helped my hernia symptoms but not my ibs). Then I was packed off not really understanding. Thanks heavens for Google these days !! X
I’m interrupting my usual flow of storytelling to acknowledge a milestone. Today I am thirty. On the one hand I am glad to see the back of my twenties which seemed full of nothing but grief, frustration and never ending battle. It’s fair to say i am more at peace now. On the other hand I feel a sense of unease for the future mixed with undertones of optimism !
So what would I tell myself if I could go back ten years to the beginning of my twenties…….
1. Your body really is a temple without your health not a lot else really matters.
2. Stop caring what others think, pushing yourself and people pleasing beyond your limits.learn to say no !
3. You will face many tough times. Grief is hard but it eases with time and the good memories will shine through the darkness.
4. Tough times test friendships it’s when you learn who the keepers are.
5. Treasure the small things in life like a sunny day, a moment of laughter or the smiles of loved ones.
6. You really are stronger than you ever thought you could be.
I had planned many things I hoped to achieve by 30 which have been somewhat derailed by life events. My own house, a wedding, a child.I don’t dwell on this I much prefer to live for each day and appreciate the small things and be grateful for whatever I have x
So my last post ended with my first migraine occurrence. After this the migraines continued at regular intervals but medication was a problem as I got so sick I couldn’t keep it down. I also learnt that the weird out of body experience, visual disturbances and tingling in hands that i got 10/20minutes before the headache is called an Aura. This gives me a warning sign that a migraine is coming and sends me running for the tablets. Always hoping I will keep them down long enough to work before the vomiting starts (this never happens though !).
The migraines really peaked around age 12 in my first year of secondary school. The sick bay became my second home complete with sick bucket. My mum was called endless times to collect me. The symptoms were so severe I couldn’t feel my left arm, leg, face, tongue and spoke with slurred speech. The only help was sleep in a quiet dark room with regular toilet trips to vomit. The pain so unbearable that even blinking felt like a chainsaw through my brain. The migraines would last a day then return the day after next leaving my body drained of all energy. Thankfully the severity and frequency tapered down to 3 or so a year as I got older which was more manageable but still so inconvenient never knowing when it would strike. I had feelings of anxiety travelling too far from home in case I was taken ill which tended to happen at the worst moments.
**My top migraine inconveniences**
1. At school being taken home by my mum and throwing up in the bin in the foyer in front of everyone.Not a good look for a self conscious 13 year old !
2. On a night out aged 18 spent ages getting ready met a friend, travelled to the venue. Get inside to the bar and order a drink and bam bloody Aura strikes. Really !! Rushed out of bar into a cab and got home just in time for the vomiting to commence.
3. Woke early and travelled two hours by train to a work training course with a colleague. Sat down and the course commenced ten minutes in oh god my eyes are going Aura strikes. Left my colleague and stumbled out to the toilet. My god this was a bad one projectile vomiting out of my mouth and nose. Slumped on the toilet floor. Colleague comes to find me and looks really disturbed.I Phone my dad with an sos to pick me up I’m so thankful as I would have been carted to hospital for sure !
4. Planned to go out and a few hours before I was due to leave the migraines started. Usual feelings of I can’t do this anymore/it’s ruining my life/someone remove my brain were running through my head.On this occasion I was stuck in a cycle of constant vomiting and pain for eight hours solid while my mum kept me cool as I slurred get me a doctor in desperation.
So yeah migraines are certainly not cool, not a normal headache and do change your life. At the back of my mind a practical part of me has to plan ahead if something were to happen and make sure I carry my medication at all times. I like to think I don’t let migraines control me but if I’m honest with myself over the years I have avoided plans or events that I was worried could trigger an attack. Self preservation I guess as when they happen i feel so out of control and vulnerable who wouldn’t want to avoid that ! xx
So I continue where i left off. Things were about to change…….
Although twenty years ago parts of this memory are still vivid as though it was yesterday. I was ten years old It was a sunny summers day and the school holidays. My dad was taking me and my best friend swimming. My dad was a strong swimmer where as I was a bit useless. I was in the pool enjoying myself diving under to pick up sinkers. I suddenly felt strange like I was not in my own body. An odd feeling I hadn’t experienced. My dad said we should go maybe I needed to eat.
I don’t remember much about leaving the pool but I remember the car journey home.My eyes had funny bits moving around inside them and I couldn’t see properly. My mouth,lips and tongue had little feeling. My left arm hung lifeless and if I couldn’t see it I would have sworn it didn’t belong to me. I was aware of a feeling like someone was squeezing my head inside a vice like machine which intensified to a feeling of having my brain stabbed and twisted. Eurgh I suddenly felt so so sick. I arrived home ran straight inside and vomited over and over violently.I told my mum I was scared. My mum looked shocked and questioned me. She had a look that said she knew what was going on (migraine runs in the family). At this point I thought I was dying. I took to bed and that’s the depth of my memory. My first migraine.
I said in my last post I would rewind so here goes….I grew up in urban London with my Mum, Dad, much older sister (12 years my senior) who would be away at intervals throughout my childhood at uni or living with friends. Finally moving out of London to settle with her now husband and four children. I treasure the one and only grandparent I have known-my Nanna 💜x
We had an array of pets such as rabbits, hamsters, dogs and a budgie. I believe having these taught me early lessons about empathy, responsibility and ultimately loss.
My memories of early childhood are positive until around the age of ten. Things began to change. The household environment became stressful due to many factors some out of mine or my parents control and though young I was aware. It’s strange what things good or bad you remember from childhood…..
Three little words. They remind me how much progress I have made and how I got there whilst also reminding me of my starting point….my bed. In 2011 my health took a downhill tumble testing my physical and mental strength to its limits. Next post I guess I should start from the beginning (if I can figure out where that is) keep strong ☺ 👌